The warm weather has arrived at last. And no doubt things are warming up in the school office too.
Academies should be well on the way to developing the detail of their 2014/2015 budget, returns required by the end of July, and some recently converted academies and free schools will be working to complete their March Accounts Return by the end of June.
As always in our weekly blog, we will pick out a few key areas we think are likely to be on your to do list – and point you in the right direction.
There have been a small number of high profile cases where the financial management within schools and academies has been questioned. The Government’s Public Accounts Committee has said that there is an over reliance upon whistle-blowers to uncover financial scandals and calls for more to be done. See BBC News – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-27334531
Peter Lauener, Chief Executive of the Education Funding Agency, has written to Accounting Officers to remind them of their responsibilities to manage the tax payers money they have been entrusted with. In particular he highlights concerns relating to ‘fraud and irregularity’ and ‘transactions with connected parties’. We would expect these concerns to be reflected in the Accounts Direction for 2014, which will be published soon.
Whilst addressed to the Accounting Officer it is important that all those dealing with Academy Finances are familiar with Peter Lauener’s’ letter. Click here to get Peter’s Letter.
School Business Services are able to support maintained schools, academies and free schools with questions of financial management – from the provision of bursarial support to a review of internal controls.
Contact us on 0845 300 8179 or visit us at http://www.schoolbusinessservices.co.uk/contact-us/
Academies Risk Protection Arrangement
The .Gov.uk web page about the new Academies Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) was updated on 14 May, and further information is promised soon regarding the detailed rules relating to the RPA. It might be useful for School Business Manager’s to book mark this page to keep up to date with news.
Full details are on https://www.gov.uk/academies-risk-protection-arrangement-rpa
We have heard from some Academies that they are finding it harder to get commercial quotes for insurances since the announcement of the RPA – we would love to hear your experiences.
Teachers Pensions Scheme
Academies, as they are not part of the Local Authority, need to submit their end of year certificate to the Teachers Pension Scheme administrators by the last working day in May. If you’ve not received an email from the TPS concerning the certificate contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Academies will be aware that they need to have contributions into the Teachers Pension Scheme verified by their auditor; this can be done now or completed as part of your auditors work in September. For further guidance visit https://www.teacherspensions.co.uk/employers/employer-guide/scheme-administration/end-of-year-certificate/eoyc-non-la.aspx
HM Treasury has completed a review of contributions into the TPS. The expected outcome is that a total contribution rate of 26% will be required in the coming years. Given that teachers pay on average 9.6%, the employer contribution is expected to rise to 16.4% from 14.1% from September 2015. You will need to include this adjustment in your 3 year budget plans.
For those wanting further guidance on the TPS there is an academy online resource available at https://www.teacherspensions.co.uk/news/employers/2014/01/academy-online-resources-area.aspx
Universal Infant Free School Meals
Has there been a row about the funding of this scheme? Maybe.
Ami Sedghi at The Guardian would like to hear from School Business Managers about what schools are having to do to implement the policy. You can contact Ami at email@example.com
Funding to Help Secure School Business Manager Expertise
Following the government’s recent announcement about a new grant to encourage clusters of small schools to share a School Business Manager, NASBM has announced that it will manage the SBM Grant programme on behalf of the DfE. Further announcements and the launch of the prospectus and application process will be made in due course. If you would like to register interest then please email firstname.lastname@example.org
You will have heard on a management course or read the story that if you sit a frog in a pan of water and slowly heat it up, the frog will eventually be sat in a pan of boiling water, unaware of the dangers this brings.
If you ever feel like this – give School Business Services a call and have a chat (empathy comes as standard). Ring 0845 300 8179, option 2.